After a nail-biting election at the end of a tumultuous year, history was made. The first woman, and the first woman of color, was elected to serve as the Vice President of the United States. In the 244 year history of America, not once has a woman
served in either the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. Kamala Harris shattered the glass ceiling that Hillary Clinton attempted to in 2016 (despite winning the popular vote), and come January, will be serving in the second-highest office in the land.
Harris, the daughter of an Indian immigrant, Shyamala Gopalan, was born in 1964 in Oakland, California. She was part of Berkeley, California’s desegregation program, in which she was part of a cohort of children that was bused to a predominantly white school. She lived with her mother and little sister, the family attending both African American churches and Hindu Temples. Harris is a unique product of many cultural and historical moments. Her upbringing was modest, she wasn’t something of a Kennedy, trained all their lives for politics, but a normal girl.
Harris went on to attend Howard University, a Historically Black University, and earn her Juris Doctorate at the University of California Hastings School of Law. She began her career as a prosecutor in 1990 and her career was notable for her commitment to the protection of women and children. She rose to become the Attorney General of California in 2011, her career reflecting the will of a strong woman, though her record was controversial.
As she announced her run for the Presidency, Harris relied on her iron will and composure to carry her, even calling out her future running mate, Joe Biden, for opposing desegregation bussing (of which she was a part). Biden was eventually given the Democratic nomination for the presidency, and in a shocking move, chose Harris to be his running mate. Voters saw what this meant: Harris is a woman that will hold Biden to his word in the future just as she hadn’t hesitated to in the past. Their ticket represented a rare unity despite the vastly different backgrounds of Biden and Harris. Biden’s job was to defeat Trump, and Harris would light the fire.
Today, Harris represents a beacon of hope in the eyes of every wide-eyed little girl who watches her. She was once just a girl from Oakland who was never primed for this position; she rose because of her own ability. She’s living proof that it is possible. A Black and Indian woman can be part of a winning presidential ticket. Harris didn’t just break the glass ceiling, she’s setting the bar higher, saying “I may be the first woman to hold this office. But I won’t be the last.”. Those historic words, part of a historic acceptance speech, will light a fire under every woman who watches her, every woman who aspires to be greater. Harris is the beginning of something greater, the perpetual reminder that the future is female.